The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the US Small Business Association (SBA) have extended the deadline for victims of Hurricane Sandy to apply for aid. It is now March 1.
The deadline was extended one month at the request of FEMA and the state of New Jersey, said spokesman Mark Jamison of the SBA's Office of Disaster Assistance.
"We encourage people to apply," said Jamison, whose agency is offering signature-only loans under $14,000 to homeowners and renters. "SBA loans are not based on a person's current financial situation," he said. For amounts above that threshold, he said, "There are no costs associated with the loan, except for title insurance when that's required as a condition of collatoral." Interest rates are as low as 1.68 percent for homeowners, and 4 percent for businesses.
As of Thursday, the SBA has approved $309,519,400 in disaster loan assistance for the residents and businesses in the state.
As of Wednesday, more than 57,500 storm survivors have been approved for help through FEMA’s Individual Assistance program in New Jersey, though additional need exists.
People with storm losses in all counties in New Jersey can register online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or via smartphone or tablet at m.fema.gov. Registration is also available by calling 800-621-3362, TTY 800-462-7585 or 711/VRS. The toll-free telephone numbers operate from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. seven days a week.
This is the second time the deadline to apply for emergency aid has been extended. Originally, aid was set to expire on Dec. 27, 60 days after FEMA first launched its recovery effort. The deadline was eventually pushed back to Jan. 30, 2013, though the State has appealed for more time based on the need of its residents.
FEMA disaster assistance for individuals and families can include money for rental assistance, essential home repairs, personal property and other serious disaster-related needs not covered by insurance.
The SBA welcomes homeowners, renters and business owners to complete and return SBA disaster loan applications. Visit www.sba.gov or call 800-659-2955, TTY 800-877-8339 for more information.
-- Additional reporting contributed by Middletown-NJ Patch Senior Editor Christina Johnson